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Peter J. Basser, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2018
For his seminal contributions to the invention, development, and translation of diffusion tensor MRI (DTI), DTI tractography, and several neuro-technologies.

Peter Basser, 2019 ASNR Honorary Member Recipient

Via American Society of Neuroradiology | April 16, 2019

ASNR Awards Committee Selects 2019 Gold Medal Recipients, Honorary Member, and FASNR Outstanding Research Award Recipient

The 2019 Honorary Member Award Recipient, Peter J. Basser, PhD, a scientist-inventor whose work has transformed how neurological disorders and diseases are diagnosed and treated, and how brain architecture, organization, structure, and anatomical “connectivity” are studied and visualized. He is the principal inventor of Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DTI) — a non-invasive MRI technology that yields a family of novel features and imaging biomarkers. Quantities that he proposed include the mean apparent diffusion coefficient (mADC) — a DTI-derived parameter widely used to follow changes in stroke and in cancers, and the fractional anisotropy (FA), a robust quantity that makes brain white matter visible. He also proposed and developed “Streamline Tractography,” a means to elaborate white matter pathways, which now helps neuroradiologists plan brain surgeries.

More recently, Dr. Basser has been a pioneer in the field of “Microstructure Imaging”, which uses MRI data and models of water diffusion in tissue to extract salient micron-scale morphological features. Examples of MRI methods Dr. Basser invented and developed with colleagues include the non-invasive measurement of the mean axon diameter (CHARMED), the axon diameter distribution (AxCaliber), and the mean apparent propagator (MAP) in each voxel. He and members of his lab have also been actively involved in developing multiple pulsed-field gradient (mPFG) methods to measure microscopic diffusion anisotropy, which they reported observing in gray matter as early as 2007. Within the past few years, Dr. Basser’s lab has continued to make seminal contributions to neuroradiology, inventing and developing MRI methods to measure and map joint relaxation and diffusion spectra in brain tissue.

Dr. Basser received his undergraduate and graduate training in Engineering Sciences at Harvard University and his post-doctoral training in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Currently, he is a Principal Investigator and Associate Scientific Director within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Dr. Basser will receive his award during the President’s Appreciation Dinner on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 during the ASNR 57th Annual Meeting, which takes place May 18-23, 2019 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Source: https://www.asnr.org/asnr/about-us/2019-gold-medal-recipients-honorary-member-and-fasnr-outstanding-research-award-recipient/

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Neurons absorb and release water when firing, NIH study suggests

Via National Institutes of Health | September 13, 2018

Neurons absorb and release water when they relay messages throughout the brain, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. Tracking this water movement with imaging technology may one day provide valuable information on normal brain activity, as well as how injury or disease affect brain function. The study appears in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Current functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technologies measure neuronal activity indirectly by tracking changes in blood flow and blood oxygen levels. Neurons communicate with each other by a process known as firing. In this process, they emit a slight electrical charge as an enzyme moves positively charged molecules — potassium and sodium ions — through the cell membrane. In the current study, when researchers stimulated cell cultures of rat neurons to fire, they found that the exchanges of potassium and sodium ions was accompanied by an increase in the number of water molecules moving into and out of the cell.

The researchers noted that their method works only in cultures of neurons and additional studies are necessary to advance the technology so that it can be used to monitor neuronal firing in living organisms… Continue reading.

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Dr. Peter Basser Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | April 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Peter J. Basser, Ph.D., Senior Investigator, Intramural Research Program, NIH; Head, Section on Quantitative Imaging and Tissue Sciences; Associate Scientific Director, Division of Imaging, Behavior and Genomic Integrity, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Associate Investigator, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Basser was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for his seminal contributions to the invention, development, and translation of diffusion tensor MRI (DTI), DTI tractography, and several neuro-technologies.

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